The Silent Way is the name of a method of language teaching devised byCaleb Gattegno. The Silent Way was conceived as a special case of Gattegnos broadereducational principles, rather than a method specifically aimed at teachinglanguages. Gattegno developed these ideas to solve general problems inlearning, and he also applied them to his work in the teaching ofmathematics and the mother tongue. Broadly, these principles are:1. Teachers should concentrate on how students learn, not on how toteach2. Imitation and drill are not the primary means by which students learn3. Learning consists of trial and error, deliberate experimentation,suspending judgement, and revising conclusions4. In learning, learners draw on everything that they already know,especially their native language5. The teacher must not interfere with the learning processThese principles situate the Silent Way in the tradition of discoverylearning, that sees learning as a creative problem-solving activity
Theory Of LanguageGattegno views language as a substitute for experience, so experience iswhat gives meaning to language.Silent Way takes a structural approach to the organization of language tobe taught. Lg is seen as groups of sounds arbitrarily associated withspecific meanings and organized into sentences or strings of meaningfulunits by grammar rules. Lg is separated from its social context and taughtthrough artificial situations.The sentence is the basic unit of teaching and the teacher focuses onpropositional meaning, rather than communicative value. Students learnthrough largely inductive processes.Vocabulary is central dimension of language learning and the choice ofvocabulary is crucial.
Theory of LearningCognitive Psychology is the basis. Language learning is not habitformation. It is rule formation. Language learning has a sequence fromthe known to the unknown. Students induce the rules from examplesand the languages they are exposed to, therefore learning is inductive
Goals and ObjectivesStudents should be able to use the target language for self expression(to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas). To help students improvetheir inner criteria for correctness. Students should rely on themselvesto be able to use the target language. SyllabusThere is no linear structural syllabus. The teacher starts with whatstudents already know, and builds from one structure to the next. Thesyllabus develops according to the students learning needs.
Teachers RoleThe teacher is a technician or an engineer who facilitates learning. Onlythe learner can do learning. The teacher is aware of what the studentsalready know and he/she can decide the next step. The teacher is silent.Silence is a tool because teachers silence gives the responsibility to thestudent. Besides teachers silence helps students monitor themselves andimprove their own inner criteria. Students RoleStudents should make use of what they already know. They are responsiblefor their own learning. They actively take part in exploring the language.The teacher works with the students and the students work on thelanguage. St-st interaction is important. Sts can learn from each other.
Techniques 1. Teaching pronunciation with "sound colour charts" 2. Cognitive coding with colour rods. 3. Peer correction to improve co-operative manner. 4. Self correction gestures 5. Teachers Silence 6. Structured feedback: Students are invited to talk about the daysinstruction (what they havelearnt that day during classes). Students learn to take responsibility fortheir own learning by becoming aware of themselves, and by controllingand applying their own learning strategies. 7. Fidel Charts: Used to teach sound spelling association. 8. Word Charts: Used to teach and recycle vocabulary. The words arewritten in different colours so that students can learn basic pronunciationpatterns.
MaterialsSound Colour Charts (For teaching pronunciation; one colourrepresents one sound), Colour Rods (for cognitive coding ofgrammatical patterns), 8 Fidel Charts (used for sound spellingassociation.